As a Mexican-American, and first-generation American at that, I spent half of my Christmases in my hometown of Dallas and the other half in Mexico with grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles.
Mexican Catholic traditions are a big part of my parents’ childhood and include the Día de Los Reyes.
In Mexico, Día de Los Reyes (in Spain also known as Epiphany) is celebrated on January 6 to honor the Three Wise Men. This holiday represents the day the Three Wise Men gave gifts to Jesus Christ, this day also closes the Christmas festivities.
Three Kings Day remains an important holiday for the people of Mexico. In addition to the gift-giving aspect of the day, there is a deep meaning to the holiday, with culinary treats and traditions.
Known as “Rosca de Reyes” (King’s Cake), this holiday dessert offers much in the way of symbolism.
Shaped in the round/oval to signify a king’s crown, the “Rosca” has a small plastic doll inside which represents baby Jesus. Traditionally, “Roscas” are adorned with candied fruits to symbolize the jewels that a crown would have.
The symbolic baby Jesus hidden inside the cake represents how, in life, the Christ child’s birth location also needed to remain secret in order that His life be spared.
The person who gets the slice with the symbolic baby Jesus must host a party on “Día de la Candelaria”(Candlemas Day) on February 2nd. At this party, the host traditionally serves tamales and hot chocolate. Depending on the region in Mexico, “Día de la Candelaria” varies in traditions and celebration.
To learn more about Mexican Candlemas Day traditions, visit www.tripsavvy.com.